Political storm brewing over Kuwait

Manama: A political storm is building up in Kuwait as lawmakers have engaged in a bitter dispute amid threats to grill the prime minister.

MP Ahmad Al Fadhl asked the interior minister about the citizenship of fellow lawmaker Mohammad Hayef.

In his question, pro-government Al Fadhl requested a copy of the decree granting the Kuwaiti citizenship to opposition MP Hayef.

Al Fadhl said he wanted to know whether the legal procedures had been followed in granting the lawmaker and his father the citizenship. He also sought to know what degree of the citizenship they were granted and whether their degree was upgraded and, if so, for what reasons.

Under the law, the Kuwaiti citizenship has several degrees. “Original” Kuwaitis are granted the first degree whereas naturalised Kuwaitis are granted other degrees.

Only those who hold the first-degree citizenship are allowed to run in the parliamentary elections.

The questions sparked the fury of opposition lawmakers who attacked Al Fadhl, but without naming him.

“Asking about the citizenship of a lawmaker is a scandal and it is used to threaten representatives of the tribes and sow divisions within our society. We should go for a motion of no-cooperation with the government. There is no doubt that the prime minister will be quizzed,” MP Mohammad Al Mutair said.

Riyadh Al Adasani, another lawmaker, dismissed the questions about the citizenship, saying they were insignificant and pledged that he would answer them when they are debated at the parliament.

MP Mohammad Al Dallal said that “lawmakers could agree and disagree on various issues and political stances within interpretations about how best to serve the nation, but would not accept abusing or insulting a fellow MP.”

The dispute is unfolding against the background of a standoff involving lawmakers and the government about the merit of reinstating the citizenships of several Kuwaitis, including former lawmakers and religious figures, revoked in 2014.

Kuwaiti officials rejected claims the revocation of the citizenships was politically motivated and explained that they were stripped because those who had been naturalised either had presented forged documents or had been incorrectly given the nationality.

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